Greece, Macedonia reach deal to end name dispute

12 June, 2018, 21:57 | Author: Wade Massey

Greece argued that by calling itself Republic of Macedonia the neighboring country was stating a territorial claim of the Greek northern province, also called Macedonia.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that he had reached a "good agreement" with Skopje on the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia, adding that it satisfied all of Athens' preconditions.

"The chance is here and it must be seized, bravely, as this is the only patriotic way", Macedonian Prime Minisrter Zoran Zaev told a press conference in Skopje.

Macedonia has agreed to change its name to Northern Macedonia in order to end a decades-old row with Greece, which among other things prevented the former Yugoslav republic from joining the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Following the latest round of discussions, Macedonia is now set to be known as the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

"We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute. that has been drowning the country", he said, adding that the deal "will strengthen the Macedonian identity".

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Greece and Macedonia are involved in a longtime dispute over the name of the Republic of Macedonia. It also has to be ratified by both Macedonian and Greek parliaments. Protesters this spring called for a United Nations resolution demanding recognition of the country under the name of Macedonia.

"In other words, if the constitutional amendment is not successfully completed, then the invitation to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will be automatically rescinded and the accession talks with the European Union will not start", he said.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted his "sincere congratulations" to Tsipras and Zaev.

They said they looked forward to accession negotiations beginning with Skopje in June.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that all of Greece's concerns had been addressed with the new name, according to the Associated Press. The new name will be used both domestically and internationally, and Macedonia will amend its constitution as part of the deal. Nicholas Paphitis and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Greece contributed.

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